Entertainment Changes Coming at Walt Disney World

September 27, 2020, 4:02 PM · Get ready for more live entertainment changes at the Walt Disney World Resort.

First the good news for fans: Disney is bringing back the For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration show, starting October 5. It's part of the return of live musical shows to the resort, following both Disney's agreement with the Actors’ Equity Association union that represents stage performers at the resort as well as increased attendance at the parks.

In addition to the return of popular Frozen show at Disney's Hollywood Studios, the park will stage an outdoor version of the Disney Junior Dance Party, called Disney Junior Play & Dance!, in the Animation Courtyard. The park also will run three character motorcades up Hollywood Boulevard at various times of the day: a Mickey and Friends Motorcade, Pixar Pals Motorcade, and Disney Junior Stars Motorcade.

Now for the bad news: The Disney Society Orchestra, formerly The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra, announced on Facebook that its last day would be October 3.

The orchestra had been playing shows in the Beauty and the Beast theater since being moved from The Grand Floridian this summer. Their dismissal suggests that perhaps the Beauty and the Beast show may be returning soon. However, even as attendance appears to be rising from the summer's low-capacity levels immediately following the reopening, attendance at the Walt Disney World Resort remains far below traditional levels. The Society Orchestra appears to be the latest cut that inevitably happens in this business when attendance falls below the level anticipated when the year's budgets were made.

Yes, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered this week that theme parks were clear to resume their normal operations "with limited physical distancing," but Disney retains the final call on what runs in its parks. In a press release, Disney said, "We received the Governor's executive order and are evaluating it to determine what it may mean for our business. We are not making any immediate changes. As a reminder, face coverings are still required at Walt Disney World Resort."

Based on initial reaction on social media, it appears that DeSantis' "everything is fine" order might lead to fewer people visiting Florida rather than sparking the rush of visitors that perhaps the governor had hoped. Ultimately, it's the number of people visiting that determines how much Disney spends on resort entertainment and future attraction development.

While park capacities will continue to be limited by how many people Disney can seat on rides and in shows while maintaining safe physical distancing (and Disney will rely on more stringent standards from the CDC and its medical advisers in the absence of guidance from the state of Florida), Disney's current average daily attendance still leaves room for growth before hitting those limits. Expect to see more changes in entertainment and attraction availability as Disney gets a handle on its attendance expectations for the months ahead.

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Replies (1)

September 28, 2020 at 1:39 PM

“While park capacities will continue to be limited by how many people Disney can seat on rides and in shows while maintaining safe physical distancing (and Disney will rely on more stringent standards from the CDC and its medical advisers in the absence of guidance from the state of Florida)...”

We can only hope they follow the CDC and medical advisors.

Because DeSantis no longer even mentions that type of knowledge or guidance. He has even went as far as forbidding local health departments from providing direction on reopening schools and more. Any medical or science data has now been suppressed by the Governor .

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